The world’s richest people made more money than ever before past year

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"Most of the billionaire wealth sits in the Americas, but in the next three years, we project that APAC will overtake the Americas".

The surge in the number of billionaires in the world's most populous country has made it an Eldorado for private banks.

The report said China minted two new billionaires a week in 2017, among more than three a week created in Asia. Now in its fifth edition, the report draws on UBS and PWC's extensive client network and access to data, and aims to promote a deeper understanding of the billionaire population globally.

China produced 50 so-called "unicorns" - companies with a valuation of at least US$1 billion - from 2016 to 2018, slightly behind the 62 produced in the United States, the report said.

The global wealth is shared among 2,158 individuals, according to the UBS/PwC Billionaires Report 2018.

According to the report, the world's 2,158 billionaires grew their combined wealth by Dollars 1.4 trillion previous year, more than the GDP of Spain or Australia, as booming stock markets helped the already very wealthy to achieve the "greatest absolute growth ever", the Guardian reported. "It's hard to become a billionaire through sheer organic growth".

It there were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2006.

If the existing US/China trade-war escalates, UBS foresees lower economic growth in both countries before policy responses.

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Total billionaire wealth in Singapore grew by 9 per cent to reach US$64.5 billion.

It added that over little more than a decade, they had created some of the world's largest companies, raised living standards and made fortunes at an unprecedented pace.

'But this is just the beginning.

It said 106 people became billionaires but 51 dropped off the list, illustrating the risks of doing business in China. Almost two thirds of Singapore billionaires are self-made, slightly below the 68 per cent in the US.

In the technology sector, there has been intense competition between Chinese and US companies to the extent that Shenzhen is now challenging Silicon Valley, the report said. "This cohort is overwhelmingly self-made and determined to capitalise on one of history's greatest moments for new enterprise".

The Billionaires Insights 2018 report said China was home to one in five of the world's dollar billionaires with 106 new members joining the club a year ago, the equivalent of around two every week and taking the country's total to 373, up from just 16 in 2006.

The US still leads regionally, with 585 billionaires, but wealth creation in the region is slowing.

The report, which UBS produces annually with the audit and consulting firm PwC, is meant to be a marketing tool for the firm's wealth management business.

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